Managing the Migration to Future Solutions The Challenge of IT and Security Convergence

sektorWhen the first centralised IP camera was released by Axis Communications in 1996, it heralded the dawn of a new era for the security industry. The Axis Neteye 200 represented a paradigm shift whereby security integrators, managers and consultants – traditionally conversant in analogue systems and technology, were confronted with the reality of an increasingly digital world full of IP addresses, networks and bandwidth. Areas that had previously been the domain of IT professionals, who appeared to practice seemingly magical arts while cloistered away in rooms full of mysterious electronic wizardry, suddenly became relevant to physical security. At the other end of the spectrum, IT professionals found themselves suddenly having to defend corporate IT networks against the encroaching hoard of physical security practitioners who understood no more about the principles of networking than they did super string theory.

This clash of cultures has, to varying degrees, continued for almost two decades as more and more of the traditional analogue security systems, such as access control, intrusion detection and identity management, have slowly migrated into the digital realm. Today it is well accepted IP cameras are outselling analogue cameras, especially in Asia Pacific, a clear indication that analogue technology is going the way of the typwriter.

Despite the fundamental shift across the security industry away from legacy analogue technology to next generation digital systems, the level of technical proficiency amongst many security installers, integrators and consultants lags behind the ever accelerating pace of technical development and evolution. This growing skills gap means that, in many instances, integrators and installers are struggling to create and implement solutions that leverage the full capabilities of the systems they are selling in a manner that keeps margins strong and jobs profitable while ensuring the client achieves the best possible outcome. This is largely because a certain level of separation still exists between the knowledge and expertise of physical security experts and IT professionals. What has been required is a group of specialists with knowledge from both the IT and physical security arenas who can effectively bridge the gap by helping integrators and installers create and deploy solutions in a timely, cost effective and reliable manner… Enter Sektor.

Sektor is an innovative provider of technology solutions across a wide array of areas, including but not limited to security, surveillance, retail POS, data capture, warehouse/logistics, network infrastructure and mobility products. Not your average distributor, Sektor works with installers, integrators and consultants to take the complexity and pain out of technical installations while helping to reassure IT managers that the systems and technologies being installed will in no way compromise existing IT infrastructure.

According to Andre van Duiven, General Manager at Sektor Security, “We often encounter instances where a consultant or integrator wants to install a second network alongside the existing corporate network, for the purposes of running security systems such as CCTV, access control and so on. This can occur for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is a desire to reduce risk to the existing network. A part of our role is to help both sides understand why that isn’t necessary, and how the security infrastructure can co-exist with other network systems to reduce cost, deployment time and maintenance. It is also not a sustainable business practice,” explains Andre. “Imagine building the Sydney Harbour Bridge just for cars and a separate harbour bridge for buses with yet another for trains and so on. The costs of such an endeavour make the entire project unviable. It is no different with information networks. We help our partners and clients understand how all of that traffic can be managed on the one network. Furthermore, we provide them with the skills to make that happen.”

“However, that is only a part of what we do,” explains Andre. “Our vision is to help our clients, who are the integrators and installers, better understand and operate in an IT-rich environment. As a part of that vision, we are working to change the way our partners view video in a security environment.”

According to Andre, what they refer to as ‘video’ differs from CCTV insofar as “CCTV has traditionally been viewed and used by the security industry as a reactive measure, watching events from the past. However, now when talking about video from security IP cameras, video can be a proactive measure that combines traditional CCTV tools and infrastructure with other IT technologies to provide business solutions and data driven outcomes that help our clients be more effective. Video becoming the next evolution beyond CCTV, enhancing business processes.”

To illustrate his point, Andre uses the example of a retail loss prevention solution whereby, through the use of IP cameras, point of sale technology, warehousing systems, stock control measures and so on, a retailer, with the help of their integrator, is able to set up a system that can capture valuable data around any transaction and then use that metadata to link video to that specific event. “This means that a senior manager no longer has to spend hours trawling through endless gigabytes of footage to find a relevant event. Using these tools, any business user can view precise and relevant footage (and only that footage) in their business system. This means that in contrast to the traditional system where an authorised manager would go the VMS to secure retail POS footage, now a duty manager accesses just the specific transaction footage from inside their business system. This can be used to monitor not only retail employees activities at POS as currently done more traditionally, but can now expand to any transaction such as all stock movements of a particular fridge – being received at the warehouse, loaded on the truck, receipted at the retail store, sold and then delivered to the customer. Each at the press of a single button.”

“The same could be done in the case of an out going stock delivery for example. When a client calls up to say that the delivery only contained eleven items instead of twelve, the person taking the call asks for an invoice number and this could be entered into the system to bring up the video of the delivery being packed and shipped to see exactly how many items went out.” The possibilities are endless when you begin to delve into what can be done by combining various systems, software and infrastructure to capture, and more intelligently make use of, data.

“Our goal is to take the pain out of the IT aspects of systems integration for our integrators while helping them understand how they can effectively capture more of the value they are creating for their clients; helping their clients achieve better return on investment and a more streamlined, effective and intelligence driven operation with video integration.”

For more information on Sektor and their products and services, visit